Stack Of Onions
hanging bundle of brown onions
(Image credit: Magdalena Juillard)

Onions are easy to grow and produce a tidy little crop with very little effort. Once the onions are harvested, they keep a long time if you store them properly. Learning some methods of how to store onions will keep them for months. Storing garden onions properly rewards you with your own harvest in the middle of winter. Few things are better than using your own produce when snow covers the ground and nothing green and growing is possible.

Store Fresh Green Onions

Spring onions and green onions won't store long. They can hold in the refrigerator crisper for a week or possibly more, but are best when they're fresh. These onions are used for their stems as much as the ends. The stems must be kept green and crisp for the best taste. Store green onions that still have their roots in 1/4-inch (6 ml.) of water in the refrigerator to keep the onions fresh longer. Change the water daily to prevent bacteria.

How to Keep Onions

You may wonder how to keep onions so they last well into the cold winter months. The bulbs are hardy and keep well if they are harvested at the right time and hardened off. The proper time to dig them up is when the sprouts have died back. Then, onions need to be cured. Curing dries the outer skins of the bulb so it won't be as prone to rot and mold. Spread the onions in a single layer on a clean, dry surface. Let them dry for two or three weeks until the necks are dry and the skin is papery. After they are cured, storing onions can be done in a couple of different ways. Cut off the tops or necks of the onions after they are cured. Discard any that show signs of decay or have soft spots. Use any bulbs that have thick necks first because they are more moist and don't store as well. A fun way of storing onions is to put them in an old nylon stocking. Make knots between each bulb and hang the nylon. This keeps air circulation flowing and you can just cut a knot off as you need a vegetable. Another method of storing garden onions is to set them in a basket or crate. Any container will do as long as there is airflow.

Best Conditions for Storing Garden Onions

All produce keeps best in cooler conditions, which slow down the decay process. Onions should be kept where temperatures are 32 to 40 F. (0-4 C.). An unheated basement or garage is suitable as long as temperatures don't freeze inside. The location must also be dry and low in humidity to prevent rot and molds. The length of time you can store onions will depend on variety and site conditions. Some bulbs can be stored for several months.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.